06 February 1997 00:00 [Source: ICB]
A Unichem-led consortium is planning a major cumene project in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, which will be one of the country's first private petrochemical projects. The plant, costing around $80m, could have a capacity of 260 000300 000 tonne/year, according to industry sources.
Three technologies are being evaluated - Lummus Global, UOP and Badger. A selection could be made during the second half of this year. While completion of the project is slated for 1999, some sources consider this is ambitious.
Cumene will be supplied to Indian firm Herdillia Chemicals and the Indonesian Bukaka Group, which will take stakes in the project. Phenolchemie has also been involved in offtake discussions.
The British Offset Office, which may also take a minority share in the venture, is assisting Unichem as part of the AI-Yamamah programme, set up by the UK and Saudi governments to transfer technology to Saudi companies through joint ventures or licensing.
Negotiations are underway with Saudi Aramco to take propylene feedstock from the Samref (Saudi Aramco-Mobil) refinery at Yanbu. Benzene would be supplied from the new 350 000 tonne/year lbn Rushd plant under construction at the site.
Some cumene output may be consumed in a phenol/bisphenol A plant also being studied by private investors in Saudi Arabia. It could produce around 40 000 tonne/year of bisphenol A, which will be supplied to local epoxy resin producers.
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